Conshore Motors’ Monthly Car Care Tip Archive

Conshore Motors offers a monthly car care tip to keep your vehicle running better and longer. To see tips from previous years, click on any of the following headings. Please email us if you have any tips you’d like to contribute.

2016

April
Read your owner's manual to follow Maintenance/Service schedules recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer. Keep records of all services. You know your vehicle best. Do not ignore any unusual noises. Ask a lot of questions.

June
Have your air conditioning system inspected by our technicians to make sure it is not leaking. Leaks can damage the A/C compressor which can be a big expense.

2015

January
Give your vehicle a good waxing in the fall to protect the finish. It will also help the snow slide off better for easier cleaning.

February
Washing your car on a regular basis in the winter is a good idea in order to keep all the salt and grime off your vehicle.

March
Keep hats, gloves, a heavy blanket, and even some candles and matches in your vehicle.

April
When it's raining and when driving on the freeway, drive in the center lanes, as water tends to pool in the outside lanes.

May
As the temperature rises, so will the pressure in your tires. Check the air pressure to ensure proper inflation. Now is also a good time to look for uneven wear and tread depth.

June
Clean out your car of all the extra junk that seems to make it to your trunk but never gets taken out. You may be surprised at how much extra weight you are carrying around. The heavier your vehicle is, the worse the gas mileage.

July
Summer is a good time to take care of some other fixes you keep putting off. Fluid leaks are hard on the environment, stain your driveway and the driveway of people you visit, and may indicate other mechanical problems.

August
In need of new tires? Take a look at the new fuel saver tires. The money you will save in fuel from putting on a new set of fuel saver tires may be well worth the investment.

September
You may consider putting a bottle of de-icer in your vehicle’s gas tank once a month through the colder months to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line.

October
Hard starting, rough idling, stalling and lack of power problems will only get worse as the weather gets colder. Now is the time to proactively address any driveability problems you have.

November
Switch to a winter weight oil. Viscosity varies with temperature, so your car may benefit from a different weight of engine oil in the winter. A lighter weight engine oil will improve engine start-up and provide better lubrication during the colder months.

Check your tire pressure. Be sure to check the pressure of your tires (including your spare tire) at least once per month this winter – every 5°C change in temperature results in about a 7 kPa (1 psi) change in tire pressure. Properly inflated tires last longer, make your vehicle safer to drive and can improve your fuel efficiency by 3.3 percent.

2014

January
If you’re due for a tune-up, have it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.

February
Motorists should keep the gas tank at least half full at all times to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing.

March
If you do your own oil changes, clean the drain plug and washer with rags before reinstalling your oil pan. Some plugs are magnetized to trap metal particles.

April
For long-term storage, fill the gas tank to help prevent condensation from accumulating in the gas tank. Add a fuel stabilizer and drive the car around a bit to distribute the additive to engine parts.

May
During the break-in period, typically the first 1,000 miles (1,600 km), keep your speed under 55 mph (88 kph) or to the speed recommended by your car’s manufacturer.

June
Check brake fluid monthly. Wipe dirt from the master cylinder lid before you open it. If you need fluid, add the type recommended by your car’s maker. Never substitute other fluids, such as transmission or power-steering fluid.

July
If your older metal hubcap has loosened, remove it and pry the metal clips outward slightly. This should fix the problem.

August
For long-term storage, disengage the parking brake to help avoid brake corrosion.

September
Put less strain on your engine and automatic transmission by shifting to neutral at red lights. Otherwise, the engine is still working to push the car even while it’s stopped.

October
When turning your steering wheel, don’t hold it in an extreme right or left position for more than a few seconds. Doing so can damage the power-steering pump.

November
Do not race your car’s engine during start-up. This is a quick way to add years of wear to your engine, especially if it’s cold outside.

December
Protect your car’s roof from scratches with an old blanket before tying lumber, bicycles, or luggage to your roof rack.

2013

January
When changing a bad bulb, clean dirty or corroded sockets with fine steel wool or a small wire brush. Wipe the socket clean of debris before installing the new light bulb.

February
When storing your car, plug the tailpipe with a rag to prevent the infiltration of moist air.

March
Change your transmission fluid filter after the first 5,000 miles (8,000 km) of driving and every 25,000 miles (40,000 km) or two years thereafter.

April
Accelerate slowly when you begin your drive. The most wear to the engine and drive train occurs in the first ten to twenty minutes of operation.

May
Use the oil viscosity grade that’s recommended in your owner’s manual for the temperature range you expect for the coming season.

June
If you do your own oil changes, clean the drain plug and washer with rags before reinstalling your oil pan. Some plugs are magnetized to trap metal particles.

July
If your older metal hubcap has loosened, remove it and pry the metal clips outward slightly. This should fix the problem.

August
When turning your steering wheel, don’t hold it in an extreme right or left position for more than a few seconds. Doing so can damage the power-steering pump.

September
Check tires for uneven wear. If you’ve maintained tire inflation properly, uneven wear may indicate the need for a wheel realignment.

October
To keep your car’s air conditioning system fit for the next warm season, run it a few times throughout the winter. This will prevent moving parts in the compressor from seizing.

November
Avoid mixing coolants that are different in color. If your coolant is pink, don’t add a green formulation to it.

December
Check brake fluid monthly. Wipe dirt from the master cylinder lid before you open it. If you need fluid, add the type recommended by your car’s maker.

2012

January
Be patient during the break-in period; use only light to medium acceleration, keeping the engine rpms below 3,000 for the first few hours of driving.

February
Warming the engine by letting it idle in the driveway is not a smart idea. The engine doesn’t operate at its peak temperature, resulting in incomplete fuel combustion, soot deposits on cylinder walls, oil contamination, and ultimately damaged components.

March
Put less strain on your engine and automatic transmission by shifting to neutral at red lights. Otherwise, the engine is still working to push the car even while it’s stopped.

April
Do not race your car’s engine during start-up. This is a quick way to add years of wear to your engine, especially if it’s cold outside.

May
When turning your steering wheel, don’t hold it in an extreme right or left position for more than a few seconds. Doing so can damage the power-steering pump.

June
Avoid driving at high speeds and accelerating quickly, especially when it’s very hot or very cold outside. Such driving behavior will result in more frequent repairs.
July
Preserve your car during long-term storage: Disengage the parking brake to help avoid brake corrosion.

August
Preserve your car during long-term storage: Plug the tailpipe with a rag to prevent moist air from infiltrating into it.

September
If your older metal hubcap has loosened, remove it and pry the metal clips outward slightly. This should fix the problem.

October
Change your transmission fluid filter after the first 5,000 miles (8,000 km) of driving and every 25,000 miles (40,000 km) or two year thereafter.

November
Avoid mixing coolants that are different in color. If your coolant is pink, don’t add a green formulation to it.

December
Check the power-steering fluid once a month with the car warmed up. If the level is low, have the hoses and pump inspected for leaks.

2011

January
If your older metal hubcap has loosened, remove it and pry the metal clips outward slightly. This should fix the problem.

February
Put less strain on your engine and automatic transmission by shifting to neutral at red lights. Otherwise, the engine is still working to push the car even while it’s stopped.

March
Check the coolant-antifreeze level weekly that shows on the translucent coolant-antifreeze overflow tank. If low, fill to the maximum fill mark on the tank with a 50-50 solution of coolant-antifreeze and water..

April
During the break-in period, typically the first 1,000 miles (1,600 km), keep your speed under 55 mph (88 kph) or to the speed recommended by your car’s manufacturer.

May
Avoid mixing coolants that are different in color. If your coolant is pink, don’t add a green formulation to it.

June
Begin with the simple: keeping your battery clean. A dirty case can actually cause current to drain. Wipe with a damp rag, using a mild detergent if necessary.
July
If you do your own oil changes, clean the drain plug and washer with rags before reinstalling your oil pan. Some plugs are magnetized to trap metal particles.

August
Do not race your car’s engine during start-up. This is a quick way to add years of wear to your engine, especially if it’s cold outside.

September
If your weather stripping is letting rainwater leak into the interior of your car, take a look at it and decide if you can repair it or if it needs to be replaced.

October
Wipe a rubber protectant (such as Armor-All) or silicone on door and window weather stripping to keep it in good condition. Don’t use an oil-based product

November
Use a soft damp cloth to lightly wipe dust from the clear plastic lenses on your dashboard. Too much pressure will scratch them.

December
Accelerate slowly when you begin your drive. The most wear to the engine and drive train occurs in the first ten to twenty minutes of operation.

2010

January
Most wheel cleaners work best on a dry wheel. Spray the cleaner on the wheel and work evenly into all areas of the wheel with a soft cloth, soft sponge or wash mitt.

February
Cleaning your paint does not mean washing your car, it means removing oxidation and contaminants, adding emollient oils back into the paint and smoothing out the surface of the paint.

March
Any cloths you use on your car should be 100% cotton and should be washed in the washing machine using only detergent. Do not add any fabric softener to the water.

April
Why should you clean the engine compartment? Rust prevention, early oil/fluid leak detection, early belt wear detection and cosmetics are among the prime reasons.

May
Keep your windshield free from dirt, snow or ice and make sure your windshield washer fluid is topped up.

June
Damaged CV joint boots: These rubber boots protect the critical CV joints that deliver power to your wheels. They should be inspected regularly and replaced as needed.

July
Check power steering fluid level once per month. Simply remove the reservoir dipstick. If the level is down, add fluid and inspect the pump and hoses for leaks.

August
Tip to help you sell your car: Get your vehicle professionally detailed. It will cost you $75 to $100. This will make your vehicle really stand out from the crowd!

September
When you are quoted a car lease payment make sure the payment includes sales tax. On a lease, you are taxed on each payment, and dealers are notorious for quoting payments without tax.

October
Make sure your car doesn't pull, wander or shake. This could indicate an alignment problem, a suspension problem and or a tire problem!

November
If you are buying from a used car dealer, ask if the car comes with any warranty. If they're selling it "As-Is" ask them "Why they don't have enough confidence in the vehicle to warranty it?"

December
Pay attention to how the automatic transmission shifts. You want firm shifts and no unusual noises. If the motor seems to rev up between shifts, or if you notice any hesitation, the transmission probably needs work!

2009

January
Preserve your car during long-term storage: Fill the gas tank to help prevent condensation from accumulating in the gas tank.

February
Preserve your car during long-term storage: Disengage the parking brake to help avoid brake corrosion.

March
Preserve your car during long-term storage: Disconnect and remove the battery to keep it from draining.

April
Preserve your car during long-term storage: Plug the tailpipe with a rag to prevent moist air from infiltrating into it.

May
Does your car key share a chain with a dozen or more other keys? That's a pretty heavy load hanging off the car key when it's in the ignition. The weight, combined with bouncing while you drive, can wear out the tumblers inside the ignition.

June
If you happen to see a gasoline tanker filling the tanks at your local gas station, come back another day or go to a different station. As the station's underground tanks are being filled, the turbulence can stir up sediment.

July
Accelerate slowly when you begin your drive. The most wear to the engine and drive train occurs in the first ten to twenty minutes of operation.

August
Warming the engine by letting it idle in the driveway is not a smart idea. The engine doesn't operate at its peak temperature, resulting in incomplete fuel combustion, soot deposits on cylinder walls, oil contamination, and ultimately damaged components.

September
Put less strain on your engine and automatic transmission by shifting to neutral at red lights. Otherwise, the engine is still working to push the car even while it's stopped.

October
Avoid driving at high speeds and accelerating quickly, especially when it's very hot or very cold outside. Such driving behavior will result in more frequent repairs.

November
When turning your steering wheel, don't hold it in an extreme right or left position for more than a few seconds. Doing so can damage the power-steering pump.

December
Consolidate your short driving trips. Most of the wear and tear -- as well as the pollution your car generates -- takes place in the first few minutes of driving.

2008

January
Do 6-month checks on chassis lubrication, polish and wiper blades.

February
Block heater - tuck away the block heater cord.

March
Oil change - ask for synthetic grade oil. Cold temperatures cause oil to thicken, making your vehicle harder to start.

April
Fuel - keep your gas tank half full to reduce condensation forming in the fuel tank. Condensation can cause gas line freezing.

May
During wintertime, keep your carpets dry. Remember, moisture causes rust and if your carpet is wet your floor panels will rust from the inside out.

June
Wax your car at least twice a year.
July
Make sure headlights, brake, reverse, parking, turn indicators and hazard lights are working properly. Check the small bulb above your license plate.

August
Is the tread wearing evenly or worn out? Is it adequate for snow and icy conditions?

September
As temperatures drop, so does your tire pressure. Check your tire pressure monthly; maintaining proper pressure helps prevent flats and optimizes fuel efficiency.

October
Do not "dry wipe" your car as it may cause scratching.

November
Avoid washing your car in direct sunlight. Before washing, rinse off as much dirt as possible.

December
Use the lowest setting in do-it-yourself car washes to avoid "blasting" grit into the car's finish.

2007

January
Don't bother topping off when filling your car's gas tank. Any additional gas is just going to slop around or seep out.

February
Tighten up that gas cap. Gas will evaporate from your car's gas tank if it has an escape.

March
If you let your car bake in the sun there's going to be a greater amount of evaporative emissions that take place than if you park in the shade.

April
Parking in your garage will help your car stay warm in winter and cool in summer, and you won't have to depend as much on your gas-guzzling air-conditioning or defroster when you drive.

May
Don't get caught driving on underinflated tires. Underinflated tires wear down more quickly and they also lower your car's gas mileage.

June
Fixing a car that is out of tune or has failed an emissions test can boost gas mileage by about 4 percent, so be sure to give your car regular tune-ups.

July
Keep a close eye on your engine's air filter. When the engine air filter clogs with dirt, dust and bugs, it causes your engine to work harder and your car becomes less fuel-efficient.

August
You can improve your car's gas mileage by 1% to 2% by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil.

September
Small dents can be fixed with paintless dent repair, a service found either through local automotive suppliers, the classified section of the phone book, or on the Internet.

October
Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33% on the highway and 5% on city streets, which results in 7 to 49 cents per gallon.

November
Avoid excessive idling; sitting idle gets zero miles per gallon. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.

December
Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each mph driven over 60 will result in an additional 10 cents per gallon.

2006

January
Avoid prolonged warming up of engine, even on cold mornings.

February
Be sure the automatic choke is disengaged after engine warm up... chokes often get stuck, resulting in bad gas/air mixture.

March
Don't start and stop engine needlessly. Idling your engine for one minute consumes the gas amount equivalent to when you start the engine.

April
Avoid "revving" the engine, especially just before you switch the engine off; this wastes fuel needlessly and washes oil down from the inside cylinder walls, owing to loss of oil pressure.

May
Eliminate jack-rabbit starts. Accelerate slowly when starting from dead stop. Don't push pedal down more than ¼ of the total foot travel. This allows carburetor to function at peak efficiency.

June
Buy gasoline during coolest time of day - early morning or late evening is best. During these times gasoline is densest. Keep in mind - gas pumps measure volumes of gasoline, not densities of fuel concentration. You are charged according to "volume of measurement".

July
Choose type and brand of gasoline carefully. Certain brands provide you with greater economy because of better quality. Use the brands which "seem" most beneficial.

August
Avoid filling gas tank to top. Overfilling results in sloshing over and out of tank. Never fill gas tank past the first "click" of fuel nozzle, if nozzle is automatic.

September
Exceeding 65km/hour forces your auto to overcome tremendous wind resistance.

October
Never exceed legal speed limit. Primarily they are set for your traveling safety, however better gas efficiency also occurs. Traveling at 55 mph give you up to 21% better mileage when compared to former legal speed limits of 65 mph and 70 mph.

November
Traveling at fast rates in low gears can consume up to 45% more fuel than is needed.

December
Manual shift driven cars allow you to change to highest gear as soon as possible, thereby letting you save gas if you "nurse it along". However, if you cause the engine to "bog down", premature wearing of engine parts occurs.

2005

January
Using a safety seat correctly makes a big difference. A child safety seat may not protect your child in a crash if it isn't used correctly and installed properly in your vehicle.

February
In the case of an accident: Write a complete description of the accident as soon as possible. Include weather conditions, estimated speeds, and as much precise information as you can observe. Take photographs if a camera is available.

March
Have the air filtration system checked frequently. The air filter should be checked approximately every other oil change for clogging or damage. This system ensures that the vehicle is performing at its peak condition.

April
When buying a used car, make sure you test drive the car under various conditions -- hills and highways, and stop-and-go traffic.

May
Before leaving on your trip, know the route you are going to take. Keep a current map in the car for reference.

June
Tips for staying awake: Get rest and don't start a trip late in the day. If possible, don't drive alone. Avoid driving at night. Adjust your vehicle's environment to stay alert. Watch your posture. Take breaks and exercise. Stop for meals and snacks. If all else fails, pull over in a safe area and sleep.

July
Many people who drive automatic transmission vehicles rarely use the parking brake. This may cause the parking brake mechanism and cables to seize up.

August
Rustproofing is helpful for many reasons: it protects a car body from the rust; it protects electrical connectors and wires from the moisture; it protects the brake lines from corrosion.

September
In order to avoid engine overheating: Check the coolant level periodically. It should be at least at the "min" mark in the coolant reservoir.

October
Check the tire pressure regularly - at least once a month. If you don't have tire pressure gauge it's really worth it to buy one.

November
If there is a strong smell of gas in your car, you probably have a gas leak; turn the ignition off and get out of the car.

December
If while cranking the engine is turning over too fast, it means there is probably no compression in the cylinders. It could happen because of engine internal problem (broken pistons, or valves) or if the timing belt breaks or jumps.

2004

January
Replacing your electric windows motor can be expensive. When using your electric windows as soon as the window is completely up or down, release the switch immediately. This keeps from overheating the window motor or switches.

February
Do not allow your windshield wipers to run on a dry windshield. This will shorten the life of the wiper blades and will overheat the wiper motor, causing premature failure and expenses.

March
When turning the car full left or right, do not hold the steering wheel all the way over until it stops. Let off the wheel and inch or two. When you hold the wheel fully all the way to the left or right, it will finally blow out the power steering hoses or pump from having too much pressure generated by the power steering pump.

April
Set the emergency brake when you stop the car and then put the transmission in park. This takes the strain off of the transmission parking mechanism. Also it helps to keep the rear brakes adjusted in some cars.

May
When backing up or going forward, when you shift from reverse to forward make sure that you bring the vehicle to a complete stop, then shift gears. This will lengthen the life of the transmission, motor supports, transmission supports, universal joints, front wheel CV joints and axles.

June
When in stop-and-go traffic in the summer, put the transmission in neutral as much as you can. This takes the load off the transmission and motor and will let the motor and transmission oil cool off quicker, thus extending the life of the motor and transmission.
July
If you chip the paint on your car, clean promptly and apply clear nail polish to area to prevent rust.

August
Use newspaper to wipe windows dry after cleaning to avoid streaks.

September
Coca-Cola® and aluminum foil will clean rust off your car bumper

October
If wipers are beginning to wear down, you can extend their life by rubbing them briskly with sandpaper.

November
A radio antenna will slide up and down easier if a coat of wax is applied occasionally. Wax paper works great for this job. Rub the wax paper up and down the antenna; the wax from the paper will coat the antenna.

December
Drop a business card (or file card with your name on it) down the window slot in case you ever need to prove ownership.

2003

January
Have the chassis lubricated frequently. This step extends the life of the moving components of the vehicle's suspension system.

February
Keep your engine tuned. A fouled spark plug or plugged or restricted fuel injector can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent.

March
Check windshield washer blades for cracks, tears and windshield contact. Replace them approximately once a year or sooner if streaking begins.

April
Always consult your owner’s manual, but a good rule of thumb is to have the oil filter changed regularly every 3,000 to 4,000 miles.

May
Inspect engine belts regularly. Worn belts will affect the engine performance. Look for cracks and missing sections or segments.

June
Have the lighting system checked frequently, including headlights, turn signals, and brake and tail lights.

July
Check battery cables and posts for corrosion and clean them as needed. The battery fluid should also be checked and filled if it is low, except in the case of maintenance-free batteries.

August
Have all fluids checked, including brake, power steering, transmission/transaxle, windshield washer solvent and antifreeze. These fluids play a large role in the safety and performance of the vehicle.

September
Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses.

October
Tires - Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; let the tires cool down first. Don't forget your spare, and be sure your jack is in good condition.

November
Have the air filtration system checked frequently. The air filter should be checked approximately every other oil change for clogging or damage. This system ensures that the vehicle is performing at its peak condition.

December
Check tire inflation. Under-inflated tires can result in a loss of fuel efficiency. This is the least expensive form of preventive and safety maintenance. Tires should be checked once a month.